Peru has ordered Mexico’s ambassador to leave the Andean country within 72 hours, declaring him “persona non grata,” according its foreign ministry on Tuesday, after the family of its ousted president was granted asylum by the Mexican government.
The ministry said the decision was made after Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador made comments about Peru’s political situation, “which constitute unacceptable interference in internal affairs, in clear violation to the principle of non-intervention,” a statement read.
It comes after Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said he had offered asylum to Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo’s family, who were already in the Mexican embassy in the capital Lima.
While Ebrard did not identify which members of Castillo’s family were inside the diplomatic mission, Peru’s Foreign Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi Diaz said on Tuesday that Castillo’s family, specifically his wife and children, will be granted safe passage to leave the country.
Castillo, a former teacher and union leader from rural Peru, was impeached and removed from office nearly two weeks ago after he attempted to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government – a tactic that lawmakers slammed as an attempted coup.
He was detained while making his way to the Mexican embassy in Lima, according to prosecutors. He is currently under “preventive detention” for 18 months for alleged rebellion and conspiracy – accusations that he denies.
Mexican President Lopez Obrador has been critical about Castillo’s impeachment, saying the Peruvian was a victim of “harassment” from “his adversaries, especially the economic and political elites of that country.”
In a joint statement last week, the governments of Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia expressed concern over Castillo’s fate, claiming he had been a victim of “undemocratic harassment” since his election last year and urging Peru to honor the results of last year’s presidential vote.
Castillo’s wife, Lilia Paredes, is being investigated on suspicion of allegedly coordinating a criminal network led by Castillo. Her former attorney, Benji Espinoza, had stressed her innocence and argued the investigation against Paredes included “a number of flaws and omissions.”
CNN is trying to reach Castillo family’s new legal representation for comment.
Peru’s President Dina Boluarte has been battling to contain widespread protests against Castillo’s impeachment since becoming the country’s first female leader. While Boluarte has offered the possibility of holding early elections, Defense Minister Luis Alberto Otárola declared a state of emergency and deployed troops to the street.
Some 26 people have died in the violence, according to Peru’s Ministry of Health data on Monday, many of whom come from the rural and largely indigenous area of Ayacucho in the country’s south, according to Reuters.
And despite the calls for early presidential and parliamentary elections, the country remains at an impasse after Congress last week rejected a constitutional reform needed to hold an early vote in 2023.
Peruvian politics has been mired in dysfunction for years, with Boluarte being its sixth president since 2018.
Castillo – who prior to becoming president had never previously held public office – campaigned on a promise to redistribute wealth and uplift the country’s poorest.
But his government was mired in chaos, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, fired or quitting their posts in little over a year. Castillo himself faced multiple corruption investigations and two failed impeachment attempts before he was ousted.